This article has been going around. I finally got a chunk of time to tear it apart because of the misused Scriptures. Let’s begin.
I’ve heard it too many times: “A man likes a quiet woman.” “Guys don’t respond well to smart girls.” “Educated women are too intimidating to attract good men.”
I understand why we believe these things. It’s a nice story. It makes sense of the success of some women to find husbands, and the failure of others. As Christians (and as humans), we feel very clever when we get to diagnose the cause and cure of singleness. “You’re too opinionated.” “You’re too boisterous.” “A woman should be small, and quiet, and delicate.”
Yet, it’s easy to forget in the midst of all our diagnosing: whether a woman is “intimidating” is a factor of male perception, not female personality. Do we want women to be less intimidating? That’s a question to be put to men who experience them as such, and we can only wait for such men to grow. The real question we need to ask is: Do we want women to be weak? And the answer must forever be, on the basis of Scripture, “May it never be.”
You could read the first paragraph and determine that this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Look at what the Scripture say about which qualities wives should cultivate, especially toward unbelieving husbands:
1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.
Men don’t respond well to women who are not cultivating godliness. A lack of godliness leads to a nagging, contentious, and rebellious wife. The ‘real reason’ why men don’t respond to so-called smart and educated women is because they believe that being smart and educated makes them better. This inflated importance leads to more nagging, contentious, and rebellious. Funny how that works.
Male perception and not female personality is flat out incorrect. The Scripture tells what kind of personality and qualities wives should have, and it’s not the one he claims. Not being ‘strong’ does not mean weakness. It’s a false dichotomy.
Not withstanding, let’s take a look at the “examples” given which supposedly support his points.
1. Strong women expose evil men.
I can’t speak for Christian men everywhere, but I can speak for myself, and for many of the men in the Bible: Godliness is attractive to both men and women (Proverbs 31:30). And often, godly femininity requires being strong, even intimidating. Consider Jael in Judges 4. Jael’s husband Heber “had separated from the Kenites,” and “had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.” […]
Thank God Jael wasn’t meek and submissive and respectful toward this friend of her wayward husband. She wasn’t one to be trampled on. Strong women reject the requests of evil men.
First, we know that godliness is not attractive (at least sexually) to both men and women. That has been covered before.
The author makes interesting presumptions here such as stating that making peace with an oppressor is wayward and becoming a friend with the enemy. We know from the beginning of the chapter that the Israelites were sinning against God. Perhaps her husband had separated himself from the rest of the tribe because they were sinning. Thus, the Lord would have given peace between the oppressor and one of his righteous while he used the oppressor to punish the wayward Israel.
We know that God uses other rulers to do His will. For example, when the Israelites were returning from captivity in Babylon, the rulers of Babylon looked upon them with great favor and peace. God gave Solomon favor and peace with the surrounding nations. Abraham made peace with some nations and warred with others. It’s an interesting assumption to believe that He was wayward because he made peace.
We simply don’t know all of the surrounding circumstances. However, we do know Jael was given this “honor” because Barak refused it when he did not want to go to war without Deborah. It was to Barak’s shame that the Lord delivered Sisera into a woman’s hand.
That doesn’t fit the narrative he’s trying to draw: namely, women should be unsubmissive and disrespectful like Jael. As we know, the Scripture clearly counsel against that in 1 Peter 3.
2. Strong women rebuke good men.
When David set out to kill Nabal — the brash and brute man who embodied pure masculine folly — Nabal’s wife Abigail offered hundreds of fig cakes and loaves of bread and wine skins to David. Yet, she uses the opportunity to warn David that he should “have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord working salvation for himself” (1 Samuel 25:31). In other words, Abigail warned: “Be careful. Don’t use your power in a way that will make you guilty.” […]
David was attracted to this strong woman for her strength, for her rebuke, and for her character. Abigail made life harder for David. And David, in a moment of grace, was able to see that Abigail’s standing in David’s way was a gift of purity to him. That day, David was seeking salvation for himself, but it was gifted to him by God in Abigail, who, even while she was at his mercy as his subject, told him what he needed to hear.
Strong women rebuke good men, who need help in their weaknesses, who need someone to help them see how to be strong.
I have seen the story of Abigail taken out of context by feminists (who call themselves Christians) so many times. Let’s look at the full context, shall we?
- David is roaming around the countryside and even acts to protect the shepherds of Nabal safe during that time (v14-17)
- David sends servants politely to ask for food (v2-8). Unlike in our culture, given the customs and law of Israel, receiving strangers is an honor for households.
- Nabal rejects and disdains David’s protection of his people and has no sense of hospitality (v9-11)
- David, seeing as Nabal is repaying good with evil and decides to act against him. As we know, the Lord hates repaying good with evil. (v12-13 + 21): “Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good.”
- Abigail intercedes knowing that the Lord was with David and that David is an arm of righteous punishment (v18-22).
- Abigail is willing to take all of the blame (v22-25).
- Abigail suggests mercy instead of judgment as mercy is more beneficial to both of them (v26-31).
- David praises her for her logic as it was able to convince him to stay his hand (v32-35).
Unfortunately, as we can see, the story does not fit the narrative which the author is trying to portray, namely “Strong women rebuke good men, who need help in their weaknesses, who need someone to help them see how to be strong.” In reality, David is not rebuked by Abigail. David was not weak, and Abigail did not show him how be ‘be strong.’
In fact, David’s actions were justified because Nabal was repaying good with evil. However, Abigail was considered righteous because of the points mentioned in 6 and 7. Abigail was willing to take all of the blame for her husbands actions (v24b — On me [l]alone, my lord, be the blame). She didn’t try to justify his evil and even brought a gift of appeasement. Likewise, Abigail suggests mercy instead of judgment. Judgment is what was deserved, but mercy can triumph over judgment. In fact, mercy, like grace, can only triumph if the full guilt of sins is made known and acknowledged by the offender (also, see Parable of the forgiven servant). This mirrors repentance, not a rebuke.
This clearly shows Abigail’s righteous actions, and it has nothing to with the false narrative of David being rebuked, being weak or the deficiencies of her husband.
3. Strong women raise believing men.
There is no stronger, more consistent reminder of the gospel in my life than my mom. Paul says something very similar of Timothy: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (1 Timothy 1:5).
In an ideal world, men and women would partner together in their strength. But we live in a world where we need strong women to make men strong, because sometimes there simply are no men there to do it. My mom’s dad died when she was nine, and my own dad wasn’t present in my life enough to be a father. So she did the work of two parents — the work of two disciplers — for both my sister and me. With Timothy and Paul, I’m so glad that God gave us these gifts of strong women to survive the inconsistent presence and consequences of “strong” men.
Of course, some of the godliest mothers have had some of the ungodliest children, and vice versa. But in an age when fathers often fail to bestow the gift of faith to their children, the future often hangs on the strength of women to do that gospel work.
Whether as children or their disciples, strong women raise believing men.
The funniest part of this point is that the wrong Scripture is quoted. The Scripture is actually 2 Timothy 1:5 not 1 Timothy 1:5.
Secondly, yes, women and mothers can help men grow up in the faith. On the other hand, the author, again, reads into the passage to fit his narrative that “we need strong women to make men strong.” As we’ve discussed multiples times on this blog before, women do a very bad job at teaching men to be men. The main irony is that Paul is writing these letters to Timothy because he did not have a strong Christian masculine presence when growing up. Hence, Paul is teaching Timothy how to be a leader in the Church. That’s what these letters to Timothy were for in the first place!
Of course, when we’re trying to fit the feminist narrative of “it takes a strong mother to also be a father,” it’s quite obvious how we can warp Scripture to fit an agenda. It’s a simple fact of nature that mothers cannot be fathers. Just look at the terrible statistics on suicide, education, mental disorders, substance abuse, and the like on fatherlessness. That is why, ideally, children have both a father and a mother. God created it that way.
This is, by far, the worst stretch of the three points the author attempts to make because it plays into the typical trope of building up mothers as fathers while implicitly tearing down the importance of fathers and fatherhood all in one. It’s a steaming pile of… poo.
The Beauty and Strength of FaithWe live in a time when women are outperforming men in many areas of professional and personal competency. And men have two choices: to find female strength captivatingly attractive, or to be insecure and intimidated. Real men love strong women, because God’s glory is beautiful, and “woman is the glory of man” (1 Corinthians 11:7).
Jesus, give men the grace to see the beauty of glorious female strength. Give women the resilience to remain strong long enough for the right men to find them beautiful for the right reasons. And help men and women to fall in love with proven, genuine faith, which is “more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire” (1 Peter 1:7).
Aside from the 1 Peter 3 passage, which I already mentioned before, Titus 2 is the other passage that talks about most of the responsibilities of wives.
Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may [b]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
I don’t see anything about strong women here. 1 Peter 3 and Titus 2 encourage these qualities:
- 1 Peter 3 — Chaste and respectful behavior; gentle and quiet spirit
- Titus 2 — The behavior is love of husbands and children (Greek: philos not agape), workers at home, and subject to their husbands; the qualities are pure and sensible.
I don’t see ‘female strength’ being ‘captivatingly attractive’ nor an actual quality that should be emphasized by wives in the Scripture. In fact, female strength is specifically not encouraged as the qualities that wives are to exhibit are opposite that. Chaste and respectful behavior, gentle and quiet spirit, pure and sensible.
Edit: as noted in the comments, the word we are looking for women to be is virtuous such as the woman in Proverbs 31. Virtuous is not synonymous with strong. This ‘strong’ woman that the author advocates is disrespectful and unsubmissive which is against the Word of God.
In fact, one can only say that the author has gone off the reservation. In the words of Paul:
1 Timothy 4:3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not [d]agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he [e]has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that [f]godliness is a means of gain.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, [a]haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [b]godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who [c]enter into households and captivate [d]weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the [e]knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as [f]Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.
Let’s pray he doesn’t lead anyone else astray. If he sees this, let’s pray he repents.